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Foxyness19

Giving Horse Ace Before A Ride

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I agreed to ride a few of my client's horses in a hunt clinic with a prominent trainer in the area, because she is not good enough to ride the green ones. After riding the first horse, I realized there was something unusual about her She was not acting her normal self, and seemed fatigued, behind the leg and very out of it. I brushed it off, thought it might have just been an off day for her.

I got on my 2nd horse, who is always very hot. He was dead to the world. I immediately knew that these horses must have been ACE'd. I was livid, but kept my cool and just tried to finish up the clinic with the trainer without causing a scene with the horses' owner.

I got off the 2nd horse, and told the owner I was extremely upset with her, that I am not against her ACE'ing her horses unless absolutely necessary (ie. dentist, clipping), especially when I am unaware that the horse's are aced' while I am riding...especially while jumping! Mind you: these are xc fences that dont fall down..the horse hits a fence with his front end and we end up in serious trouble! I told her if she wants me to continue training her horses that she must consult me before EVER making any sort of decision like that, especially if I am to be riding them at public events. It is my reputation on the line, and it is illegal in eventing to dope your horses.

Am I in the wrong here? What's everyone else's opinion? I am livid, and these horses dont deserve to be doped for no reason. I can compete these greenies in horse trials just fine..there was absolutely no reason for that, and I feel sort of violated.

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I wouldn't even deal with someone who was that cavalier with both my safety and the safety of their own horses.

She either does not understand that Ace is not a drug to be used while riding or she does understand and doesn't care.

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i agree with you about the ace for what you were doing..i use to run barrels when i was younger and to trail ride my horse bc he was such a hot head we had to give him a lil ace to keep him calm bc he was realy barn sour and we tried everything with him before we started giving him ace but like i said it was only enought to take the edge off of him and for no other reason then that. Even with the ace my horse was still a hot head but not as bad but it did get to the point were we didnt have to give him ace to trail ride bc he learned that he could be calm on a trail like he was when i worked him around the barn. I never given him ace while competing and i dont think that is right.

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Did the owner ever admit to drugging the horses? I read your post a few times and I see that you "immediately knew that these horses must have been ACE'd." but i don't see anything where the owner admitted to drugging the horses. Just a question.

On to the topic at hand. I don't blame you for being upset at the owner. I have no desire to ride a drugged horse, especially doing something like jumping.

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If it were up to me, I'd make it so that only a vet can administer Ace to a horse. Too many people us it in lieu of having to actually train the horse. It's given to horse at auction regularly and if you don't know the signs, you can, especially if you are not an experienced auction house horse trader, buy a total nightmare and get seriously injured next day when you attemp to mount and ride that nice little laid-back pony you picked up at the auction on the weekend.

Too much abuse goes on with that drug and it's not used just by one bad element of the horse world, either. People who should know better and should spend the time to train an animal use it as a bandaid as well. It should only be used as a last resort.

Edited by manesntails

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Speaking of auctions and ace, Manes just reminded me of one that happened here last summer. Just before the local horse auction here shutdown, a neighbor down the road from us ran a pony with small wagon through it. I didn't look close, but it seemed to be a very laid back pony. They were going all over the auction barn's parking lot before the auction and it looked to be a pretty decent rig. A woman that my wife knows bought it and took it home that night.

The next day when she went to harness it back up to the wagon, the pony went nuts, jumped up and impaled itself on a fence post. It was pretty much dead right there. There was quite a fuss about it around here, but the woman was pretty much stuck with a wagon that she had to get something else to pull.

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I was at an auction some years ago in Herminston OR and 4 of the ponies she had purchased had been aced.. she didnt know till she tried to put her son on one that night... the only one who hadent been aced had been saddled so improperly that she had saddle gall for 2 months.. the blisters in her armpits were so severe they left permanent scars.. she was one of the best ponies to ride though, loyal and honest, and very work orriented..

I hate ACE'ing any horse, at the parade i was at several were aced.. I didnt find it appropriate.. am of the oppinion if you didnt have you horse trained to work that kind of job, then you shouldnt have your horse there in the first place.. Though one prolly should have been aced, he freaked out at my mini and flipped over on his rider.. Luckilly both were fine.. but it still frustrates me.. I work hard to teach my horses to handle ANYTHING that comes their way if possable.. and I have found some interesting teaching requirements.. purple flags, umbrellas, on and off horse, MINI's anything Mini.. bike carts, skijjorning sleds... oh man..

but if someone feels a horse has to be aced while it is ridden, then it has not had enough time to learn to think.. aceing them to teach them to think is a cheap short cut..

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I see no problem with Ace, even for riding (definitely not XC though), and I disagree that a horse who is Ace'd does not learn.

I work with a lot of problem horses, but also have a "real job", so I can't be killing myself out there. Most of them have a genuine fear of something, and will completely lose their minds when confronted with it. They aren't thinking rationally anymore, they've simply gone into flight mode. By repeatedly scaring them by presenting them with whatever issue they have, you're just reinforcing that fear. A little Ace can take the edge off and allow them to stop and actually focus on the issue at hand, and realize that perhaps it's not such a big deal.

For example, I had one horse that you simply could not mount. He'd been started by beginners who fell off if he breathed wrong, and had been pretty heavily abused when they fell, so he was convinced that there was just no way that anyone was going to come anywhere near sitting on him. As soon as you stepped up onto the mounting block, his brain shut off and there was going to be absolutely nothing learned. So, I gave him a shot of Ace for a couple days, climbed all over him, and let him see that everything was fine. I wasn't going to fall, I wasn't going to beat him, and I wasn't going to let it be scary. He ended up being a really nice trail horse for the family that bought him. The Ace did not make him a good horse, but it did help to stop the overreaction that caused what he was afraid of and made him even more scared.

It doesn't do any good to let the horse sit there and wind himself up. First shows, first few turnouts after a long stall rest, situations like the above, etc all need to be handled well, and sometimes a little cocktail to take the edge off can be helpful. I'm in no way advocating the overuse or abuse of it, but it is a very good tool to have in your box.

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I see where you are coming from about the ace but I have used ace before to help calm down nervous horses. Ace helped me get Slinky calm for learning to pony at the race track. After two weeks of ace and slowly backing away from it he's been perfect since.

I hope you can get things sorted out because riding an ace'd horse without know it's aced is no good.

Edited by xcanchaserchicx

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That's why when you have a horse with a genuine fear of something such as mounting, you go back to basics and spend as much time as needed getting the horse to respect and trust you. Then you build up to mounting in small steps. Get him used to having things over his back, groom him around the mounting block, reach over his sides, jump up and down beside him, lift your legs up to the stirrups, play with the stirrups. You don't need Ace. I've never heard of a trainer using Ace to take the edge off a horse so they'd be easier to train. I wouldn't send my horse to a trainer who would. I want someone who knows how to handle the problem step by step to work with my horse. BTW I have a "real" job too and I also help run a boarding stable which includes mucking, feeding, turnout and riding. I've bought more than a couple horses to train and sell, each with their own set of issues. Some days were good, some days not so much, but I never drugged a horse to make them easier to work with just so I could be out of the barn at a certain time.

If there is a valid reason to use it that will avoid people and the horse getting hurt, then go for it, but I don't think it's fair to the horse or safe to use while riding. JMO

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That's why when you have a horse with a genuine fear of something such as mounting, you go back to basics and spend as much time as needed getting the horse to respect and trust you. Then you build up to mounting in small steps. Get him used to having things over his back, groom him around the mounting block, reach over his sides, jump up and down beside him, lift your legs up to the stirrups, play with the stirrups. You don't need Ace. I've never heard of a trainer using Ace to take the edge off a horse so they'd be easier to train. I wouldn't send my horse to a trainer who would. I want someone who knows how to handle the problem step by step to work with my horse. BTW I have a "real" job too and I also help run a boarding stable which includes mucking, feeding, turnout and riding. I've bought more than a couple horses to train and sell, each with their own set of issues. Some days were good, some days not so much, but I never drugged a horse to make them easier to work with just so I could be out of the barn at a certain time.

If there is a valid reason to use it that will avoid people and the horse getting hurt, then go for it, but I don't think it's fair to the horse or safe to use while riding. JMO

Oh Yes, I'm gonna ditto this^^^. Exactly my reasoning. Horses who are being short cutted with drugs may be calming down but they don't NEED to be drugged, just worked with in having their confidence rebuilt. Far too many people have access to drugs and abuse them. I would call acing a horse instead of training it abuse. Chemical abuse. We have no studies as to what Ace does in the long run to a horse. We have no guarantee that the amount we give is enough, too much or just right for any horse as each has a slightly different metabolism and may or may not have a bad reaction from any drug given to them. Mind altering drugs should only be prescribed for circumstances where there is NO other recourse, and then only by a Vet or Dr, for humans. If you took Zanax for every nervousness you had and it wasn't prescribed by a Dr, you could be arrested, yet we allow people to Ace any horse they work with at THEIR OWN discretion. No, I do not approve of that at all.

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There's very few situations when I think it's ok to use ace while the horse is being ridden, especially over fences! I don't blame you for being upset at all.

I do think ace can serve a purpose, particularly if a horse has a really big phobia. Horses can learn while under sedation (although I know people will use that to justify riding a drugged horse [Duh])

Horses can still learn while tranquilized However, I think that's only appropriate when getting a horse over a fear such as clipping, trailering, and maybe limited uses under saddle. It's NOT to be a regular event, or as a something to replace training.

People also need to keep in mind that geldings and stallions can become "dropped" permanently as a side effect... so it's really not something you want to play around with!

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That's why when you have a horse with a genuine fear of something such as mounting, you go back to basics and spend as much time as needed getting the horse to respect and trust you. Then you build up to mounting in small steps. Get him used to having things over his back, groom him around the mounting block, reach over his sides, jump up and down beside him, lift your legs up to the stirrups, play with the stirrups. You don't need Ace. I've never heard of a trainer using Ace to take the edge off a horse so they'd be easier to train. I wouldn't send my horse to a trainer who would. I want someone who knows how to handle the problem step by step to work with my horse. BTW I have a "real" job too and I also help run a boarding stable which includes mucking, feeding, turnout and riding. I've bought more than a couple horses to train and sell, each with their own set of issues. Some days were good, some days not so much, but I never drugged a horse to make them easier to work with just so I could be out of the barn at a certain time.

If there is a valid reason to use it that will avoid people and the horse getting hurt, then go for it, but I don't think it's fair to the horse or safe to use while riding. JMO

Well, to the first bit, I'd like to encourage you to get out a little more.

And to the second bit, you've answered your own little rant. The horses I work with cannot be taken on by just anyone who can muck a stall. They are genuinly dangerous, and allowing them to react the way they do is dangerous to people and themselves.

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Well, to the first bit, I'd like to encourage you to get out a little more.

And to the second bit, you've answered your own little rant. The horses I work with cannot be taken on by just anyone who can muck a stall. They are genuinly dangerous, and allowing them to react the way they do is dangerous to people and themselves.

Condescending much? If you feel that was a personal attack on you than maybe you should look at yourself and wonder why you're so insecure. It's the internet and I'm not going to waste my time getting my feathers ruffled over someone I've never met. I'll just say that you shouldn't jump to conclusions about people you don't know. You'd be very surprised to know what kinds of horses I've worked with. :winking:

BTW it wasn't a rant, just my opinion. The second bit relates to the first part as a second resort to putting all the basic foundation training on the horse and you need the horse to do something NOW. (ex: needs to get on a trailer to go to the vet).

Carry on.

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Gree, I've never heard of a trainer hanging out a shingle with:

"Bring me your truley dangerous animals; I'll drug 'em and ride 'em for ya." [bat Eyelashes]

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Neither Ace nor its more incapacitating brother Rompin should be used by those who are not trained in the liabilities and effects of the drug use. A sedated horse, which is what Ace and Rompin are, is not in full control of its faculties and muscle groups. In that case, it would be highly inadvisable to let someone, like the OP, who was not advised that the horse was sedated, ride him.

You never know whether the horse may have a reaction to the drugs, simply end up with a higher degree of sensitivity to the drug or if the drug may have the opposite effect on a particular animal.

We have used Ace in place of other drugs to mildly sedate one of our horses for treatment of a t-post wound, under a vet's direction. We have used Rompin once with our highly sensitive gelding on his first trimming with us, again, under a vet's direction.

I believe, both of these drugs would be classified as controlled substances if used on humans. Therefore, they should not be used unless directed by a medical professional, i.e. a veterinarian.

Same thing for bute, believe it or not. Bute is used in another form in humans. Its called Fiorinal and I have taken it for relief of migraines. (I admit, I have taken some of my horses' bute when migraine hit while I was out in the barn in order to head off a major event.)

However, we are not going to stop people from doing stupid things. You just can't regulate away stupid.

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Condescending much? If you feel that was a personal attack on you than maybe you should look at yourself and wonder why you're so insecure. It's the internet and I'm not going to waste my time getting my feathers ruffled over someone I've never met. I'll just say that you shouldn't jump to conclusions about people you don't know. You'd be very surprised to know what kinds of horses I've worked with. :winking:

BTW it wasn't a rant, just my opinion. The second bit relates to the first part as a second resort to putting all the basic foundation training on the horse and you need the horse to do something NOW. (ex: needs to get on a trailer to go to the vet).

Carry on.

I was a bit short yesterday, and I apologize. I work on a campaign for someone running for senate, and apparently, I have to explain to a grown man (the campaign manager) that he should do some very simple things, like send out thank you cards when people give the campaign money, buy signs so that people know who the candidate is, and that just maybe it's not a good idea to let the intern sleep with a married Senator who's twice her age [bang Head]

That being said, I stand by what I said, but will try to explain myself better.

I found your post incredibly condescending, in that you came at me with "Well, that's why you do basics!". Of course that's what you should do first, and I even explicitly stated that I only aced in certain situations and that it shouldn't be overused/abused. The problem is that some horses know the basics, and aren't going to have anything to do with them. When a horse takes out a metal round pen because you reached for the stirrup, it's not exactly a go back to basics type of thing anymore. Now, it's a situation where he knows what's coming, and every time he overreacts to even the tiniest thing and scares himself more, it cements the idea that the whole deal is awful and he should just get out of dodge as fast as possible.

Now, you could sit there and spend months and months with the horse, having him flip over, fall down, run through fences, etc, and risk injury to yourself and the horse. Or, you could take the edge off and allow him to see that he's not going to die if I hold the stirrup, put him in the trailer, clip his nose, whatever. Safety is always my number one priority. A lot of the horses that come to me do so because they are in danger of killing themselves with their behavior. I'm not going to feel better at the end of the day knowing that I killed a horse while working with it just because I was doing something simple. That's why I made the comment about your second bit. Of course I'd love to do everything the nice way, but sometimes safety has to come first and your best bet is to drug them. You came across as if you could judge a dangerous situation, but I couldn't.

I've Aced very, very few horses for riding purposes. But I'm not opposed to it when the situation warrants. Most of the time, it's less than 2 CC's. I don't want a dull horse, I want one who can think because his flight reaction isn't taking over. I'll give a little more in a situation where they really should be still, but never enough to make a huge difference when riding.

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I was never rude in any way, I was stating my opinion, you may want to go back and re-read how I worded my post.

Also, in your first post you never specified that you only use it on rare occasions, the way you wrote it, its sounded like it was a daily thing with every horse you work with. However, I still stand by what I said, I would never send my horse to a trainer who was going to ace her. I've never used it for training purposes and never plan on it.

That's not the topic at hand anyways, this woman didn't know the horse was ace'd, they were at a clinic, and the horse didn't even need it! That's just plain wrong on the owners part.

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I know, like I said, I was in a mood because of other nonsense going on, but I disagree that I made it seem at all like I used it on a daily or regular basis, and especially not on every horse. I bolded my first post below to show that.

And that's fine that you'd never send her to a trainer that would Ace her, I'm sure you're more than capable of not getting her to the point where she'd be at risk of killing someone or herself. I wouldn't either unless I somehow made my horse completely nuts, at which point I hope I'd have the since to just get a pet rock. :smilie:

I think it comes down to whether or not you've ever had a horse who is genuinely at risk of killing themselves. I've watched a horse kill herself in the trailer because the owner wouldn't let me Ace her, and I'm just not comfortable with the idea that letting that play out was the better option. I've been around, been hurt, seen horses hurt, seen my life flash before my eyes, and that's no fun. Once you've seen that, and gotten over the idea that you're invincible and you can just cowboy through it, things go a lot better, I think.

So, I gave him a shot of Ace for a couple days, climbed all over him, and let him see that everything was fine. I wasn't going to fall, I wasn't going to beat him, and I wasn't going to let it be scary. He ended up being a really nice trail horse for the family that bought him. The Ace did not make him a good horse, but it did help to stop the overreaction that caused what he was afraid of and made him even more scared.

It doesn't do any good to let the horse sit there and wind himself up. First shows, first few turnouts after a long stall rest, situations like the above, etc all need to be handled well, and sometimes a little cocktail to take the edge off can be helpful. I'm in no way advocating the overuse or abuse of it, but it is a very good tool to have in your box.

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To Me Ace'ing a horse to make it think more clear or allow it to NOT react as negatively is like an alchoholic saying he needs the drink to go out the door... it is just a short cut!

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I've been around, been hurt, seen horses hurt, seen my life flash before my eyes, and that's no fun. Once you've seen that, and gotten over the idea that you're invincible and you can just cowboy through it, things go a lot better, I think.

Didn't literally mean *my* horse, I talking generally for any horse that ever passes through my barn doors.

Just guna end by saying you don't always know who you're talking to on the internet :winking: I definitely know I'm not invincible, went through that stage as we all do, ended up in the hospital more times than I care to remember because of it. I now feel confident in saying that I can be effective and get the horse to the point I want them without it ending that way and without having to drug them. Not to mention that wouldn't fly very well with anyone in the horse world up here.

[smiley Wavey]

Edited to add that kitten kat summed it up very nicely.

Edited by ride the hide

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First I don't agree with the circumstances this was used in the original posters situation. I think Mondaesmon hit the nail on the head as far as using ace, rompin in certain situations and it should only be administered by someone experienced to know all aspects of the results. The argument here is should it be allowed as a training aid. I think in certain situations , yes. We have 3 kinds of trainers in our area, The ones that take the show folks, and horses with mild behavorial problems.These trainers have earned the privilage of being able to select whom they want to work with. They have built, through years of experience a reputation that they do not have to risk their neck to prove themself. Why take on risk when you get more money riding safe, good bred horses.

Trainer # 2 Has not yet proven their skills as yet.(To the public) Will often take on spoiled, young horses, the norm in behavorial problems, but knows his/her limitations when it comes to rank and dangerous. Will not resort to drugs as they are comfortable knowing client will agree to work with trainer in regards to time and money spent to correct problem that can be fixed.

Trainer #3 Gets the ones trainer 1 & 2 refuse as they are so far gone. They are at a point in life that the owner will not spend say 90 days or even 60 as they don't know if horse is worth putting a full training schedule into. Trainer 3 needs to try and get horse focused to even find a starting point. Will drug once or twice( Using amount to take off the edge) to try and make some leadway without horse killing trainer or itself. Training is a business, it is not always pretty. Again , I'am speaking of a horse that is extreme as far as being dangerous. Again ,this is an exception to the rule that should be considered in very limited situations. JMO.

Edited by Floridacracker

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On 7/12/2010 at 4:02 PM, MillieMoo said:

I see no problem with Ace, even for riding (definitely not XC though), and I disagree that a horse who is Ace'd does not learn.

I work with a lot of problem horses, but also have a "real job", so I can't be killing myself out there. Most of them have a genuine fear of something, and will completely lose their minds when confronted with it. They aren't thinking rationally anymore, they've simply gone into flight mode. By repeatedly scaring them by presenting them with whatever issue they have, you're just reinforcing that fear. A little Ace can take the edge off and allow them to stop and actually focus on the issue at hand, and realize that perhaps it's not such a big deal.

For example, I had one horse that you simply could not mount. He'd been started by beginners who fell off if he breathed wrong, and had been pretty heavily abused when they fell, so he was convinced that there was just no way that anyone was going to come anywhere near sitting on him. As soon as you stepped up onto the mounting block, his brain shut off and there was going to be absolutely nothing learned. So, I gave him a shot of Ace for a couple days, climbed all over him, and let him see that everything was fine. I wasn't going to fall, I wasn't going to beat him, and I wasn't going to let it be scary. He ended up being a really nice trail horse for the family that bought him. The Ace did not make him a good horse, but it did help to stop the overreaction that caused what he was afraid of and made him even more scared.

It doesn't do any good to let the horse sit there and wind himself up. First shows, first few turnouts after a long stall rest, situations like the above, etc all need to be handled well, and sometimes a little cocktail to take the edge off can be helpful. I'm in no way advocating the overuse or abuse of it, but it is a very good tool to have in your box.

I agree with this! I have an OTTB who is half blind and spent 8-9 months on stall rest. She is now terrified of riding outdoors and just about any noise or movement scares her. I have tried ground work and bringing her back up slowly since August and things have gotten worse, not to mention any time she has to stay in her stall we take 10 steps backwards. I don't believe using ace for every ride forever is the answer, however using a small dose to take the edge off and let her realize that she is okay I do believe can be beneficial to the horse to help their brain take a second and let them learn. 

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Edited.... Only just realised this is an 8 year old post!!!!??? 

 

When you say ACE'D do you mean the equivalent of ACP? If so, I won't ride a sedated horse. I totally understand your opinion OP. 

 

I want a horse 100% sound minded on judgement. Not clouded. 

 

Sedation is not made for working them in my book. Training and temperament issue. 

 

I would be livid unknowingly riding a doped animal also. 

Edited by NaughtyNeigh2

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